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What was going on in your career when you first started coaching?

More than what was going on in my career when I started coaching, it was what was going on in my personal life that was influencing my career. I had “downshifted” (or “leaned out”) from my career as a management consultant when I first got married. The work was good, but I didn’t believe the hours were fair to a new marriage. I took a job that was not aligned with my professional skillset, but enabled a lot more flexibility. I was able to do my job quite effectively but I missed being in a “sweet spot” professionally. I stayed in the less-than-ideal job through a lot of personal change (I wrote a book, we renovated our house, and had two children through the years I was there and continued to work part-time). When I was 8 months pregnant with twins my husband gifted me sessions with Lauren for Christmas. He knows how important my career is to me, and that I’d felt stymied in my position for a long time. He interviewed several coaches on my behalf, and felt like Lauren was the best fit for my personality and the change I wanted to make (and he was right!). I wanted something that made better use of my natural professional skills and abilities, but wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for, or how to find it.

What big step have you recently taken in your career journey?

I actually just quit that “less-than-ideal” job to start a company - MatchPace! I am far from the only person who feels a pull between their profession and their personal life; the statistics on burnout and disengagement are staggering. I actually see it as a major issue holding back the success of an organization; that they drive some of their best people out with a relentless schedule and crushing responsibilities (or boring work that could be done by a program or machine). At MatchPace, we are helping organizations reimagine their workday. We help them evaluate their pace – how they spend their time. If it’s on worthwhile, effective work; or if there is a lot of chaff like unnecessary meetings, or tasks that don’t actually contribute to the mission. Or if there’s out-and-out waste, with people spending time on things like ESPN.com or Facebook. And we do all this in the interest of really enabling an organization to accomplish their mission – we believe in the work that organizations are doing. We just want to help them do it better, AND give people back their time.

What risk are you glad you took?

It might be counter-intuitive, but I’m glad I took the risk to stay at my old job while I set up MatchPace. It sounds adventurous to have an idea and go for it, but we had four small children (the twins weren’t even 1 yet), I needed a predictable schedule and the resources to pay for childcare. It felt risky from the perspective of my dream (What if someone else does something like it while I’m waiting? How can I possibly work part-time, have so many small children, and find a moment to work on this idea?) Instead of launching it right when I had the idea, I built the intellectual property, the website, the business plan, and the contacts while I was still at my old job.I feel like I’m giving MatchPace, and our family, a better chance at success.

What is one thing you do every day that keeps you focused?

I set my priority for the day. Not priorities. Priority. The single task that is most important to move MatchPace forward. It may be hosting a seminar, it may be writing an email, it may be having a difficult conversation. Then I aim to make that my first activity of the day and don’t do anything else until that single thing is done. It’s hard because sometimes I’d prefer to check a bunch of easy things off my check list and I can easily spend all day down a hole of administrivia. Or sometimes I just want to zone out (by the time I get to doing work, I’ve usually run the marathon that is getting small people up, dressed, fed, and on with their days).I don’t always succeed, but at least making sure I know my priority, and trying to grow the habit that it’s the first thing I work on, helps me focus.

What is a recent moment in your career that made you really proud?

Taking care of my family by continuing to work at my old job and pursuing MatchPace. It makes me feel “like me.” Adventurous and conscious of my commitments. Committed to both my family and my career.

What is a failure you’ve experienced in your career and what lesson did you learn from it?

My most frequent failure is focusing on my failures. Being introspective can be a good thing, but I can take it too far. Spending forever rehashing conversations in my head, reexamining ways that I acted years ago and criticizing how less-experienced-me handled something, worrying how those people who knew me then view me now (social media – eye roll). It’s an ongoing effort to bring my focus to the present, and learn from those experiences but not re-live them.

What was your biggest take-away from your coaching experience?

That a good coach draws you out. Working with Lauren helped me unearth things inside of me that I had a sense of, but couldn’t articulate. She helped me realize my priorities and values, and figure out how to make my career aspirations work within those!

What is your favorite thing to do with your family in the Fall?

Trick-or-treating with our neighbors! We have a few fantastic neighbors, with kids about the same age as ours, and we’ve all gone out together since our first babies were born. After the kids are in bed, the adults sit out front (with baby monitors) and enjoy handing out treats to other kids. Here are all my “critters” from last year!


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Eliza Coleman